Top tips for teaching phonics

1. Step-by-step
You don’t need to teach the whole alphabet to get reading going. Start with a few letters and get children to build words with them. Our series starts with the sounds s, a, t, i, m.

2. Word-building rocks!
Word-building is the best way to teach reading and spelling. Write the letters on cards and ask the children to build a CVC word, e.g. ‘mat’. This way children can clearly see how letters spell sounds and how those sounds can be blended into words.

3. Teach reading and spelling together
Always include spelling as part of your reading lessons. Spelling is the reverse activity of reading and once children understand this, they will start to find plausible phonic spellings in their own writing.

4. Blending forever
When reading with children use ‘blending’ as the strategy for reading a new word. If the child has not come across a spelling in a word – the teacher can tell them the sound and the pupil can add the letter/sounds they already know to blend the word. This can also work with high-frequency words.

5. Practice and more practice
Most people need to practice a skill before they become proficient. This is essential in reading as we are aiming to develop automaticity and fluency. A great way to practice and consolidate what has been taught is to offer decodable books and a variety of phonic games.

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